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Conservative Party's employment law proposals
The Conservative Party’s proposals on employment law unveiled in its manifesto might be described as modest and lacking in detail; indeed most, if not all, are the subject of existing consultations.
In marked contrast to the Labour Party’s radical and relatively detailed proposals, the Conservative manifesto states in a somewhat opaque phrase, that it will ‘strive to achieve the right regulatory balance between supporting excellent business practice and protecting workers’. Via its Red Tape Challenge, it will ‘ensure that regulation is sensible and proportionate, and that we always consider the needs of small businesses’.
Under a heading of ‘fairness in the workplace’, it states that it will ‘always prioritise the principle of fairness in the workplace, whether it is in the job application process, ensuring equal pay for equal work, or people’s working conditions’. The manifesto references the work done so far in implementing the recommendations from the Taylor Review. The government is already consulting on or has confirmed it will take action in the following areas:
- gender equality indicatives
- greater protections from sexual harassment
- reducing ill health-related job loss as well as a right to request workplace modifications
- reforming parental leave entitlements
- one-sided flexibility
- a new single body to enforce employment rights
- extending redundancy protections for women and new parents
- restricting the use of NDAs
- abolition of the Swedish derogation
As to specifically new proposals in the manifesto which haven’t been trailed beforehand, there seems only to be one - encouraging flexible working and consulting on making it the default, unless employers have good reasons not to.